Where were you Thursday night?

Posted By | April 12, 2008 12:00 am

Did the title to my column get your attention? Well, if it did, then let me ask that same question again. Where were you Thursday night?
Is child abuse something you would rather not talk about or even think about? I’m sure those young innocent lives that are being affected by this horrendous crime would also prefer not to think or talk about their abuse, but they have no choice. They are the victims. They are helpless. They depend on us to protect them. Again, where were you Thursday night?
A Blue Ribbon ceremony was held at Sparta Amphitheater, beginning at 5 p.m., on Thursday. Now, I know some of you may say that was not a convenient time for you. You were probably taking one of your children to a ballgame, while another one needed a ride to a friend’s house. Then, there were all those “unexpected” things that came up that required your complete attention.
Again, where were you Thursday night?
While you were taking your child to a ballgame, hundreds of other children in the State of Tennessee, not to mention several in White County, were being physically and sexually abused. All we asked for was 30 minutes out of your day to find out how you can be an integral part of helping prevent his horrid crime.
“This would never happen to MY family,” is probably the thought that is running through the minds of many of my readers. Well, let me tell one cold, hard, fact of life – it can happen to anyone!
No, I don’t expect you to pick up the gauntlet and begin a one-person campaign against child abuse. I do, however, expect you to show the same amount of concern about helpless, innocent children that you give to every other aspect of your life.
Okay, here I go. I’m stepping out on a limb with my next few statements. If I offend anyone, so be it. If you don’t like what I am saying, I’m sorry. But I will not apologize for stating the truth.
    Less than 20 people showed up for this ceremony.
According to the last count I had, there are approximately 90 churches in White County. Only one member of the clergy was present. Are you not the leaders in the community who are supposed to instill the power of prayer and faith? These children need you. They need to know there is a loving God who is always watching over them. That message can come from you. Where were you Thursday night?
There are several hundred teachers in White County. Are you not the first link to discovering if one of your students is a victim of child abuse? After all, that child is in the classroom with you several hours a day, five days a week. You are the person who witnesses their behavioral changes. No, I’m not trying to make you solely responsible for saving this child. And, no, coming to a ceremony will not stop the abuse. However, it will help you become more informed about how to reach out and help the next time you suspect abuse. I realize you already receive training in this field, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if those who help put these offenders behind bars could see they have support from the community. Where were you Thursday night?
And, elected officials, where were you Thursday night? Only one person who is voted into office by the people attended the ceremony.
Now, you could be saying to yourself, “I didn’t know about the ceremony.”
I realize not everyone reads The Expositor. But if you’re reading this column right now, that means you probably DO read The Expositor on a regular basis. Did you miss seeing those two big front-page photos we published in the last two editions that told about the ceremony? In addition, there was an ad that ran for several weeks that told the date, time and location of the ceremony. And I know that our newspapers go out to AT LEAST 6,000 individuals.
The speakers, as the old saying goes, “were preaching to the choir,” because almost everyone in attendance was already involved in helping protect our children. They included law enforcement, child protective services and organization members whose mission is preventing child abuse. Our very own District Attorney General Tony Craighead traveled from Putnam County to give a powerful statement about how we, as a community, are responsible for protecting the innocent children. There was even a speech given by an adult who was a victim of sexual and physical abuse as a child.
Where were you Thursday night?

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